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    5 Pillars of a Winning B2B Demand Generation Program

    Written by Marsden Marketing Team on April 11, 2024


    Change is the one thing you can count on as a B2B marketer. The concepts and standards we take for granted can be turned on their heads in the blink of an eye, taking our beloved best practices with them.

    So, what does this mean for B2B marketers?

    It means that we have to be agile, flexible, and more than ever, digital-first in all our touchpoints with clients and prospects. And that is even more the case when it comes to our demand generation programs.

    A business’s digital strategy has always been important to the marketing mix. When we look at demand generation specifically, the emphasis on digital isn’t just about doing more of what we were already doing digitally. It's about creating new programs, channels, and processes based on how we can effectively reach and engage our target audience on their buying journey.

    While the strategies and tactics we’re used to may have changed, the focus of demand generation hasn’t. Demand generation teams and professionals are still focused on:

    • Attracting new business 
    • Optimizing revenues from current clients
    • Maximizing the efficiency of their spend when measured against revenue acquired

    As we pursue these goals, we’ll stick to some key foundational elements of B2B marketing, like:

    • Collaborating with our sales teams
    • Targeting the right markets and buyers
    • Using the right technology to get our marketing and campaigns done
    • Creating content that’s meaningful to our audience
    • Distributing content across multiple channels

    In our latest guide, Ultimate Guide to B2B Demand Generation, we dive into each of these foundational elements in detail, giving you valuable insights to apply to your future-focused digital strategy.


    5 Ways to Build a B2B Demand Generation Engine Today


    1. Sales & Marketing: Collaborating to Win

    Teamwork is the foundation of demand generation success. According to research, companies with tightly aligned teams see 36% higher customer retention and 38% higher sales wins.

    While close collaboration is not a reality for many companies, the fact is that it’s important for organizations looking to take their demand generation to the next level. No one knows your buyers — and your target market — better than your sales team. Their insight plays an instrumental role in developing content that’s relevant to your audience.

    We discuss how to achieve better alignment with your sales team in our guide based on our experience in helping fortune 1000 companies do the same. While this list is not comprehensive, it provides some guidance on the initial steps you’ll want to take to get started:

    Develop your buyer personas

    Your B2B marketing can only be as effective as your understanding of your target audience. No one knows better about what keeps your audience awake at night or the challenges they are trying to overcome than your sales team.

    Set a meeting with your sales team to get a better understanding of who they typically sell to. Ask them about the pain points they have and what messaging has proven successful in helping close deals. Dig deep into the type of content materials they use and request to review their sales calls, which can give you plenty of insights on how to tighten up you’re messaging and new content and campaigns to create.

    Read this blog to learn more about how to connect with your B2B audience.

    Define your channels

    Once you have determined who your buyer personas are and have developed a sketch of them based on input from your sales team, go a step further and schedule interviews, ideally six per persona. Taking this step will help you identify the channels your target audience uses when conducting research for a new solution and key patterns to make your messaging more effective.

    There are other ways to collect this information as well. For example, you can send a survey to your database asking people how they consume content and on what channels in addition to the types of content they like to consume most.

    Establish Demand Generation KPIs

    B2B organizations are only successful as the alignment between sales and marketing. Part of that means assigning joint KPIs across the two functions to ensure alignment. One of the main barriers we’ve seen holding companies back from a true sales and marketing marriage is that they are tracking different numbers and goals, which leads to silos and finger-pointing when the business is not achieving its desired outcome.

    To learn what demand generation metrics to track as a team, check out this comprehensive guide we put together. Once sales and marketing have agreed on what KPIs to track, make sure to create a dashboard where all team members have visibility and access to see how they are tracking against their goals.


    2. Getting Personal: Right People, Right Message, Right Time 

    Once you’ve worked with your sales team to identify your ideal clients and the buyers in those accounts, it’s time to dial in your messaging. Demand generation — and inbound marketing — is about engaging the right people with the right content at exactly the right time.

    Someone who has only recently discovered your brand probably isn’t ready for a demo. Understanding and anticipating your audience’s needs is key to building a trustworthy, mutually beneficial relationship.

    There are three parts to building a special relationship with your target audience:

    1. Segmentation

    This is when you sort your audience by common, high-level traits, like industry, job title, or product interest. Proper segmentation can help you identify the pain points and challenges shared by groups of your audience.

    2. Targeting:

    This is when you focus on the buying group for a particular prospect account. Some common B2B buying groups are finance, IT, procurement, and the end-user. Effective targeting means you’re able to speak to the needs a group is trying to fill.

    3. Personalization

    This is when you tailor your outreach and your content so that it speaks directly to each prospective account and individual. It’s more than just inserting a prospect’s name in an email. It’s about communicating in ways that show you know their company, their goals, and their challenges – and then they’ll be interested in how you can help.

    These tactics increase readership and engagement as they demonstrate your focus on the company and the buyers in the group. But to accomplish this at scale for demand generation, marketing automation is a must.

    An automation platform, like HubSpot, allows you to

    • Build lists
    • Create nurture streams
    • Scale personalization
    • Track engagement across all of your marketing programs.

    We’ll talk more about marketing technology in the next section and in our guide.


    3. The MarTech Stack: Building for Growth

    Technology is your superpower to be everywhere all at once — well, everywhere your prospects are. Defining the tools to include in your martech stack can be overwhelming with what seems like a new tool crops up every day. But it doesn’t have to be.

    Start smart, choosing the core tech needed to automate targeted, personalized campaigns at scale and to track performance across your channels. Examples of these core tools include:

    • Automation platform — like HubSpot or Marketo
    • Content management system (CMS)
    • Customer relationship management system (CRM)
    • Platform for ad delivery: search, social, display, retargeting
    • Business contact databases and intent Data — like ZoomInfo, SalesLoft, and Bombora
    • Video and conferencing software for webinars, demos, and virtual events
    • Business intelligence platforms like Tableau for reporting and data analytics 
    • Social media channels — think LinkedIn, Instagram, or Facebook
    • Productivity or project management platform — we like Teamwork, but Asana is a great option too

    There are thousands of marketing technology options at our fingertips. It’s true for your prospects, and it’s true for you. That’s why it’s important to do the research to identify which blend of technologies is right for your business, your budget, and your technology skillset.

    For example, we helped a customer communications management (CCM) company establish its demand generation engine by examining its current ecosystem and discussing its desired end state. After careful consideration, we proposed setting up HubSpot Sales Hub, HubSpot Marketing Hub, and HubSpot CMS.

    We worked with them to define the marketing-to-sales lead handoff, lead scoring, and more. Once implemented, we were able to develop the foundation for the demand engine and drive tighter sales and marketing alignment. Read their success story here to learn more.

    After you have set up your core martech infrastructure, you’ll want to layer tools to extract greater results. Generative AI is making it faster and easier to leverage automation and gain better insights for better results — so be constantly learning and testing. Just remember that technology is a tool and not a strategy.


    4.Filling the Funnel: Content that Converts

    Content is still king. It may come as a surprise even with AI flooding the internet with content, but that phrase is still true – when it’s the right content, of course. B2B buyers today are looking for helpful, credible content to guide their decisions. That’s why Google is prioritizing authoritative, and experience-based content.

    To ensure that your content stands out from generic AI-driven content produced in droves, you’ll want to infuse it with valuable and actionable insights. If you don’t have the firsthand experience to do so, leverage your internal subject matter experts.

    Next, you’ll want to develop a content plan that uses a mix of formats (blog posts, videos, e-guides, and infographics) that best aligns with how and where your target audience consumes content. You’ll want to make sure that your content spans each stage of the buyer’s journey.

    For example, one of our clients, a think tank based in Virginia, was looking to develop a multi-channel campaign using a white paper as a key lead driver. Rather than just promoting the report, we developed an infographic with key insights that were shared on social media to drive interest and traffic to the white paper landing page.

    After a lead conversion on the landing page, we dropped them into an email nurture sequence where we provided additional content. By creating a full-funnel content strategy for this campaign, we set a record for generating a deal within the first month of its launch. More on that story and other results here.


    5.Multichannel Marketing: When One Isn’t Anywhere Near Enough 

    A study by Gartner found that companies using four or more channels to engage prospects achieve 300% better results than those using just one or two. 300%! What that tells us is that prospects respond better when they encounter your content in multiple places and multiple ways.

    A blog post they discover organically, plus an email, plus a social media post that includes an informational video — all work cumulatively to give a prospect a full picture of what you have to offer. To make sure you are savvy on the channels (web, key social media, targeted ads, content syndication, email, review sites, and PR) your audience uses, you’ll want to understand how prospects use them to learn.

    Then, you’ll want to reverse engineer how they can work for your business so that your messaging is relevant and timely on those channels while building on top of each other to open doors. You can also leverage the PESO model, which stands for Paid, Earned, Shared, and Owned media types if you need a framework for orchestrating your marketing ecosystem.

    You’ll need to catalog all your marketing materials with a content audit so you can fully understand what you have, what you need to update or repurpose, and which content works best on which channels. With that planning done, you’ll gain the control you need to get them all working together.


    Revving Up Your Demand Generation Engine 

    Demand generation has grown and changed over the years. And those changes provide incredible opportunities to get more ROI for your marketing efforts. These principals, as outlined in this blog, help us — and our clients — better navigate the constant changes in our digital world to beat the competition for the mindshare of our prospects.

    For more in-depth coverage on how you can create a functional demand generation engine today, check out our guide: Ultimate Guide to B2B Demand Generation.

    Download Guide Now


    Topics: Demand Generation and ABM

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